Don't gamble with justice. If you are facing a criminal charge in Lake County -- whether it is a minor misdemeanor or serious felony -- don't hesitate to reach out to the Law Offices of Steven R. Hunter by calling us at (312) 466-9466 . Using our 30 years of experience practicing criminal law in Illinois, we will fight for you in court to the fullest extent of the law.
The more you know about the Lake County criminal court system, the better you'll be prepared to deal with the accusations and charges that Lake County is throwing at you. These resources and information regarding Lake County criminal courts will get you started.
The first legal stage of a criminal case is an arraignment, which refers to the hearing where the defendant either pleads Not Guilty or Guilty to the charge he is being accused of. In Lake County, this hearing -- as well as all other hearings associated with criminal cases -- is heard in front of a judge at the Lake County Courthouse located in Waukegan at 18 North County Street.
If you are arrested or charged with a crime in Lake County, the State will summon you to appear in court. We recommend that you contact an aggressive Lake County defense attorney if you receive a summons to court or have been charged with a criminal offense. Nothing will decrease your chances of release more than walking into court unprepared and unaided by a knowledgeable Lake County criminal defense lawyer. Hiring a lawyer with the expertise and experience to defend you is a crucial step you can take to avoid the long-term consequences that a criminal conviction can bring.
Lake County is the 3rd largest county in Illinois and is home to the 19th Judicial Circuit. The 19th Circuit houses several courthouses and branch offices spread across the county. If your legal case is criminal, you will most likely be summoned to appear at the Lake County Main Courthouse in Waukegan, but there are also a number of smaller branch locations with various legal specialties located in other cities of Lake County. We provide criminal defense representation to defendants who are summoned to appear at all courthouse locations in Lake County Illinois.
Lake County's main courthouse is situated at 18 North County Street, Waukegan, Illinois 60085. There are several entrances available, located on County Street, Martin Luther King Avenue (formally Utica Street), and Washington Street. The courthouse is open Monday through Friday from 8am -- 5pm.
Criminal felony cases are heard on the second level in courtrooms C-201, C-202, C-204, and C-205. If you have been charged with a misdemeanor, you will be summoned to appear to a courtroom on the fourth level, home to the Misdemeanor/Traffic Division.
If you plan to drive to the main courthouse, Lake County provides various options for parking. You may park in the Waukegan Parking Garage and City Lots D, E and F. There is also limited street parking fee-based parking in the County of Lake Parking Garage. Public transportation is a viable option for those without a vehicle. The Metra Union Pacific Line North drops you off two blocks from the court complex. In addition, various Pace Bus Lines, such as the 561, 562, 563, and 564, have stops within walking distance to the courthouse.
It is important to be informed about courthouse policies and rules when your court date arrives. You don't want to be caught unaware when you reach the security line. Arriving to your court date on time is exceedingly important to make a good impression.
Are cell phones allowed in Lake County Courthouse? The short answer is yes. Cell phones are allowed in the courthouse; however, they are not permitted in the courtrooms themselves. Cameras and video recording devices are not allowed anywhere in the courthouse.
The Lake County Courthouse also prohibits the entry of knives, sprays (e.g. pepper spray, an aerosol container), glass objects, locks, weapons of any kind, flashlights, laser pointers, and many other items. For a complete list, visit the Lake County Sheriff's website.
Not all legal matters are heard in the Lake County main courthouse. There are seven additional court branch locations that service Lake County. The addresses and hours of the other Lake County branch locations can be found below.
With the exception of the Babcox Justice Complex, the branch courts primarily focus on traffic violations. It is unlikely you will be summoned to a branch court if you have a criminal charge lodged against you.
The 19th Judicial Circuit has a total of 15 circuit judges who are elected to terms of six years. In addition, there are 24 associate judges who serve 4-year terms. Associate judges are appointed by the circuit judges and are not directly elected by the public.
Lake County Court also has a Chief Judge, Jorge L. Ortiz and a Deputy Chief Judge, Jay W. Ukena.
Circuit judges include Christen L. Bishop, James K. Booras, Valerie Boettle Ceckowski, Patricia S. Fix, Mitchell L. Hoffman, Mark L. Levitt, Margaret J. Mullen, Victoria A. Rossetti, Thomas M. Schippers, Daniel B. Shanes, Charles W. Smith, Christopher R. Stride, and Diane E. Winter.
The Lake County associate judges are Luis A. Berrones, Michael B. Betar, David P. Brodsky, Janelle K. Christensen, Raymond D. Collins, Michael J. Fusz, Brian P. Hughes, Daniel L. Jasica, Charles D. Johnson. D. Christopher Lombardo, Margaret A. Marcouiller, Christopher B. Morozin, Paul B. Novak , Veronica M. O'Malley, Theodore S. Potkonjak, Elizabeth M. Rochford, Helen S. Rozenberg, Joseph V. Salvi, John J. Scully, Stacey L. Seneczko, James K. Simonian, George D. Strickland, Donna-Jo Vorderstrasse, and Nancy S. Waites.
Not every judge hears every type of case. In other words, some judges are assigned exclusively to criminal matters, while others may deal solely with divorce and adoption cases.
If you are facing felony charges, your case will be argued in front of one of the following judges: Daniel B. Shanes, James K. Booras, Victoria A. Rossetti, Mark L. Levitt, or Patricia S. Fix.
Misdemeanor cases are heard by a completely different set of judges. Misdemeanor DUI cases are heard by Brian P. Hughes, Helen S. Rozenberg, James K. Simonian, and John J. Scully. Veronica M. O'Malley presides over cases of domestic violence and orders of protection.
It should be noted that these lists are not exhaustive, and some judges move around or hear a mix of cases. Courtroom assignments can change from time to time for various reasons. At the Law Offices of Steven R. Hunter, we do reminder calls to our clients the day before a hearing and make sure they know exactly which courtroom to go to, what time they need to arrive, and what materials they should bring.
If you have a pending court case, it is likely that at some point you will come into contact with the Lake County Circuit Clerk's Office. The Clerk's Office functions an intermediary between all the players in the legal system -- judges, lawyers, defendants, and court officials. If you need to file a legal document, pay a fine, or fill out an official court form, you will do so at the Clerk's Office. The Circuit Court Clerk of Lake County is Carla N. Wyckoff.
The Office of the County Clerk of Lake County is located in Room 101 at the main courthouse, 18 North County Street, Waukegan, Illinois 60085. The Clerk's office is open Monday through Thursday 8:30am - 7:00pm and Fridays from 8:30am -- 5pm.
All court forms can be found at the Clerk's office, but many are also available online at the Lake County Clerk's website. To file certain forms or legal documents, the Clerk's Office charges a fee, particularly if you would like to make additional copies.
If you are arrested by the police, you may be held in detention. Shortly after your arrest, you and your attorney will go before a judge who will determine whether you will be detained in jail during your trial proceedings or be granted bond. Any adult defendant who is not eligible for bond or who cannot pay their cash bond in Lake County is held in Lake County Adult Corrections Facility. The jail is located on-site at the Lake County courthouse complex in Waukegan and houses up to 740 inmates at one given time.
If you would like to visit a loved one who is currently being held in Lake County Adult Correctional Facility, there is a set of rules governing inmate visitation. Video terminals are now available at the facility, which allow family members or lawyers to videoconference with inmates from home or from any device with internet access. These visits must be scheduled beforehand and must meet various conditions. Video visits may only be conducted between the hours of 9 -- 10:30am, 11:45am -- 2:30pm, and 5:30pm -- 9:30pm. For more information, visit the Lake County Sheriff's website.
Our firm has fought and won criminal cases for Illinois criminal defendants for decades. Trust the experts and give our offices a call at (312) 466-9466 for a free legal consultation. We represent clients charged with any type of crime in Lake County -- from misdemeanors like drug possession to serious felonies such as aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.